Lionel Aeschlimann, Managing Partner of Mirabaud, is delighted “that this work of art created by an internationally renowned Swiss artist has entered the public space of the City of Geneva. We wanted to take the opportunity of the 200th anniversary of the Mirabaud Foundation to present Geneva, its inhabitants and visitors with a gift. It is important that art be accessible to all. There is no doubt that Not Vital’s work will provoke reflection and discussion and help people to see the world differently. »
In addition to producing drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures, the internationally renowned Swiss artist Not Vital, who lives and works in the Engadine Valley, also creates installations in natural environments or buildings that he revisits. “Moon” creates a new dynamic in the urban landscape, reflecting the surrounding environment. It represents a partially scientific and equally idealized view of the star. The craters are precisely reconstructed on the basis of a NASA model, produced by craftsmen in the Not Vital Studio in China. With its perfectly round shape and polished material, it also reflects a phantasmagorical imagination that has changed since man first set foot on its surface just half a century ago. Moon also recalls an essential and influential presence, a landmark in the life cycle.
Like all of Vital's stainless steel works, Moon's highly polished surface reflects each environment in which it is placed – a relationship that also seems to reflect how the artist absorbs and assimilates the nuances and particularities of the places he visits. Like the sun and the sunset, which are so important to Vital, the moon is a reassuring constant presence in an ephemeral world, whose phases are beyond our imagination. The attraction of the moon is not just a metaphor - its gravitational forces control the tides on earth. Vital’s Moon is just as attractive, thanks to its vast size, its perfectly spherical shape and its hypnotic reflective surface. Handcrafted by craftsmen in China, each crater is reproduced separately before being welded into the main structure.
Not Vital was born in 1948 in Sent, in the Engadine region of Graubünden. The mountains, snow and animals of his childhood in Switzerland have a major impact on his work. His palette of colours, mainly grey and white, is brought to life in pieces made with noble materials such as marble, silver and bronze, or in more common components such as paper, plaster and glass. The dialogues established between these different textures are of particular importance in the Not Vital's work: the artist describes himself as a sculptor, although he also produces paintings, drawings, prints and buildings. However, all these works serve Not Vital’s ambition: enhancing the elegance of a piece of marble, exploring the mirror effect of stainless steel, discovering the roughness of paper, experiencing plaster as a manifestation of snow...
This passion for materials is coupled with an insatiable curiosity for handmade items and craftsmanship. The artist collaborates with the best qualified craftsmen in the world, each in their own speciality: “Tuareg silverware in Niger; carved marble from Pietrasanta; chiselled steel from Beijing; ceramic from Jingdezhen; glass from Murano; bronze from Milan; and paper from Laos"1. Not Vital is not only fascinated by the cultural heritage of these specialists; he also feels the need to challenge other sculptors in their specialisation, to capture their interest in his projects and to push their limits.
Vital’s houses are particularly disconcerting and challenge our ideas of artistic genres. Scattered throughout the world (Marble Tower in Belgium; NotOna Island in Chile; Sandstorm House in Niger), these buildings are works of art that sometimes serve as habitats, but may also serve the sole purpose of giving people a place to admire the sunset. This is the case with Sunset House, built in Agadez, Niger in 2005. “When you build a house just to watch the sunset, then you have constructed a purpose. Life there is of secondary importance, “ said Not Vital, in an interview for the New York Times with Andrew O’Hagan in 2013.
In Not Vital’s works, the beauty of the materials he manipulates is surprising, making the viewer keenly aware of their weight and the space they occupy. The interaction with the spectator subsequently intensifies as they move around the sculpture, creating a dreamlike impression. According to German art historian Thomas Kellein, “In the end, what emerges from his work is always the unknown."
Not Vital is one of the most famous painters, sculptors, designers and architects of his generation. A tireless nomad, the Swiss artist has lived and worked in places as diverse as Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Lucca, Agadez and Chilean Patagonia. These different places have always had a direct influence on his artistic production. The artist’s works have been shown at the MoMA and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Kunsthalle in Vienna, the Ullens Centre of Contemporary Art in Beijing, the Graphic Arts Office in Geneva, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in the United Kingdom, and the Venice Biennale, among others.
Since Mirabaud was founded in Geneva in 1819, its Managing Partners have always demonstrated an active commitment to society. Mirabaud’s commitment to contemporary art is consistent with the banking and financial Group’s active, long-term vision of pursuing management activities that offer high added value.
With that in mind, Mirabaud has been amassing a collection of contemporary pieces for many years. These pieces are exhibited in various Mirabaud branches in Switzerland, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Uruguay and the United Arab Emirates.
In Geneva, Mirabaud is a partner of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCO), to which it is offering free entry throughout 2019 to mark its bicentenary. It also supports the Association du Quartier des Bains and the Geneva Lux festival of lights; one of its works even illuminates the facade of its headquarters. Mirabaud is also the main partner of Zurich Art Weekend and the Paris International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC).